MARATHON, Florida Keys — Shrimp, spiny lobster, stone crab claws and fish, all “fishermen-to-fork fresh,” are to headline the attractions for attendees at the Original Marathon Seafood Festival scheduled Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15, in Marathon.
For over 40 years, the taste bud–tempting outdoor feast has drawn seafood lovers and Keys families to gather at the Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside.
Commercial fisheries and markets catch, clean and cook the nearly 15,000-pound spread of fresh Florida Keys seafood, bushels of oysters from the west coast of Florida and tasty smoked fish dip prepared according to tightly guarded recipes.
Fishermen-turned-chefs, their families and hundreds of volunteers serve up the tasty Florida Keys favorites with sides of baked beans, coleslaw, hush puppies or French fries. This year attendees also can line up for new items: crab cakes, Cuban croquettes and fried Key West pink shrimp and oysters.
Although it’s not harvested in the Keys, conch is dished up as ceviche, chowder, golden-fried fritters or flavorful “sausages” tucked into buns. Landlubbers can choose from hamburgers and hot dogs. Don’t miss the sweets — Key lime pies, baked goods, cool smoothies and icy treats — or frozen adult beverages and cold beer.
Over 200 merchant booths are to span the park displaying locally made spices, honey, salt scrubs and soaps; jewelry; artwork; nautical items; tropical apparel; accessories; plants; home and outdoor décor; and information about Keys real estate, nonprofit, marine animal and rescue organizations.
Other attractions include a boat show, children's games and raffle prizes. Live music performances each day range from reggae to rock, country, salsa, Americana and groove. Explore the lineup at marathonseafoodfestival.com/
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 per adult and free for children under age 12 when accompanied by a paying adult. Sunday, retired and active military are admitted free with identification.
Proceeds benefit local continuing-education programs and scholarships presented by the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida and the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce.
Event information: marathonseafoodfestival.com
Marathon visitor information: fla-keys.com/marathon or 1-800-262-7284